FRIENDS and Residents of Buffery Park have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the most previous award a volunteer group can be given.

The group is made up of 20 volunteers who look after Buffery Park and its sports facilities and community site.

The group, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, also run a befriending service and manage Grazebrook Park.

Stephen Briscoe, chairman of the Friends and Residents of Buffery Park, said: "It has been an honour for the Friends and Residents of Buffery Park to win the Queens Award for volunteering.

"It was a privilege to be nominated in the first place.

"Personally, it has given me an enormous amount of satisfaction to see the group receive the award.

"It is a credit to the enormous hard work of members past and present – they know who they are – who have worked hard to make the park what it is today, a wonderful green space that the local community can be all proud of.

"Over the years we have met lots of people who love the park and green spaces like ourselves, generations who have attended our events, those who have encouraged us, those who have been there when we needed them for support. We would like to thank you all."

The friends and residents’ group were one of 13 across the West Midlands to be named as recipients on June 2.

The award is given to groups who deliver exceptional service within their communities and rely on volunteers to deliver their outstanding contribution.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm, said: "I was delighted to hear the friends and residents had won the Queen’s Award, the most prestigious a volunteer group can win.

"Through their hard work, it has been transformed into a vibrant park enjoyed by the whole community. It proved an especially valued open space during the lockdowns last year.

"The group give up hours of their own time to provide an exceptional park and facilities the whole community can be proud of. I am sure everyone will join me in giving this special group a huge congratulations on a well-deserved win."

Black Country Radio, based in Brierley Hill, was the only other recipient from Dudley.